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Ligonier Valley YMCA unveils plans for new center

| Tuesday, July 2, 2013, 9:04 p.m.
Rear persepective of the Ligon Valley YMCA expansion.
Front perspective of the Ligonier Valley YMCA expansion.
Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
Preston Eller, 10, of Ligonier enjoys ice cream during an ice cream social held in celebration of the Ligonier YMCA expansion project on Friday. June 28, 2013.
Brian F. Henry | Tribune-Review
An employee at Bob Ramsey Garage and Excavating out of Ligonier begins the demolition of the old Dairy Queen house on North Market Street in Ligonier on Friday. The demo is part of the YMCA's expansion project. photo taken at Ligonier Valley YMCA June 28, 2013

Strengthening the foundation of community is the mission of the Ligonier Valley YMCA.

That foundation will soon be expanding to more than two acres of contiguous property in the heart of Ligonier.

On Friday, staff and board members, partners and donors watched as a building adjacent to the Y, which formerly housed a Dairy Queen, was torn down to make room for an $8 million expansion.

Plans include a larger drop-off area with a new main entrance, expanded fitness area, therapy rooms, squash court and parking lot.

The YMCA's facilities will also be used by Excela Health, which has partnered with the YMCA to share therapy resources.

“Today marks a significant moment in our community as we forge a new path to work together to make a difference in the health, wellness of every member of the community,” said Mike Busch, Excela Health chief operations officer. “We will advance good health through prevention in the community.”

The Ligonier Y presently serves 4,300 members and provides education and child care services to nearly 200 children. With this increased membership, the board recognized a need for a larger fitness center.

“We are excited about our partnership with Excela Health to provide health and wellness services at the Ligonier Y,” said Doug Welty, Ligonier Valley YMCA board president. “This partnership will make it possible to expand the Y facility to accommodate the needs of the community, provide new health and wellness services to the community and ensure that the Ligonier Valley YMCA will remain healthy for a very long time.”

Friday also marked the launch of the public phase of the capital campaign “Building a Healthy Community Together.”

Ben Wright executive director of the Ligonier YMCA said $5 million has already been raised for the project, thanks to the support and generosity of private foundations, businesses and individuals including the Katherine Mabis Foundation, the Hillman Foundation, the Richard King Mellon Foundation, Excela Health, Commercial Bank and Trust, the Emma Hodge Foundation and the Beckwith Family Foundation,

During the next six months, the Y will finalize plans for the building and raise the remaining funds.

The community is invited to visit the Y to learn more about the campaign and the planned center.

Deborah A. Brehun is a staff editor for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-238-2111 or